There was an interesting article in the L.A. Times on Monday, July 20th about the author Donald E. Westlake, who wrote detective novels and pulp fiction. He is also noted for being the screenwriter of or his books being the basis of such movies as Point Blank, The Hot Rock, The Stepfather, The Grifters and Payback. The article was about a series of graphic novels being adapted from his novels with a hero by the name of Parker, Westlake’s signature character. When it come to Hollywood, though, Westlake would let a novel with Parker be adapted to the screen, but only if they changed the name (Point Blank and Payback). I guess he didn’t trust Hollywood–go figure.
But now he has allowed an illustrator Darwyn Cooke and a book editor Scott Dumbier to adapt his books into graphic novels, and allowing them to use Parker’s name instead of changing it.
What interested me here is that I have a friend who noticed that in the 1930’s and up to and especially in the 1950’s, Hollywood (as well as France) would often base movies on pulp fiction stories and novels (Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain to name but a bare few). In fact, this was a prime source of movie stories and it eventually gave rise to what is now called Film Noir (it still is, especially in France). My friend believes that graphic novels are replacing these pulp writers as a source for movies and that they will have the same impact as the pulp fiction did. And it’s not just superhero graphic novels like Batman and Spiderman. Movies such as A History of Violence, Persopolis and Road to Perdition are all adapted from Graphic Novels.
So for those who look down on graphic novels, remember, people like you looked down on pulp fiction 1950’s and see what it gained you.

Log Lines for One Act Plays

The plays that are highlighted can be accessed from this site. To locate a copy of the play, please click on the title.
A COLD COMING WE HAD OF IT. (2M, 1M or F). It’s a blizzard and John and Dave are stuck at a train station waiting and waiting and waiting. And the bag lady that wanders in doesn’t help matters any. But the blizzard does more than trap them. It provides them (to quote the Chicago Reader) “an opportu­nity to bicker, cajole, deceive, joke, cry, wheedle, and otherwise negotiate their way into an understanding” of their relationship as we discover why Dave is really so upset and where John really was the night before.

FILM NOIR. (5M, 3F). Based on the brooding, dark films of the forties and fifties that made Humphrey Bogart and Joan Bennett stars, Film Noir finds Fred Nirdlinger trapped in a grim world with little hope of happiness. In a desperate attempt to escape into a brighter world, he has an affair with a younger woman with a mysterious life.

GENTLE READER. (3M). Two friends have a weekly lunch until a chance disagreement shows just how fragile relationships can be.

IT’S ONLY FUCHSIA IF YOU’RE A GOD DAMN FAG. (2M). Azzie and Bayard are having an affair. Azzie wants Bayard to leave his lover. Bayard likes things the way they are. Caution: nudity and sexual content.

A LITTLE LEAR AND LAUNDRY. (3M). One day Cordell learns something of the truth of the line from King Lear, “Like flies to wanton boys are we to the gods, they slap us in their fun”, when he runs across Larry in a laundromat. Larry, along with his lover, Reggie, owns the most successful bar in town, along with other various properties, and never has to cook, clean or, Cordell notes, do laundry if he doesn’t want to. So what is he doing here and why is Reggie so upset when he shows up looking for his lover? The answer is not at all what Cordell expects.

THE MOMENT I WAKE UP. (2M). A man has an unusual encounter with a man who claims that his “brain is shrinking”.

THE PAST REMEMBERED. (4M). Two ex-lovers, betrayed and betrayer, meet. But who has the upper hand now?

THE SCREAM. (3M, 1F). At first it seems like a typical afternoon at the National Institute of Art for professor Daed Avrams, his wife Sarah and their son Zak. But it takes a decidedly bizarre turn when Terry Barnard, an ex-student of the Professor’s, forces himself into their midst. The professor distrusts him and for some mysterious reason Zak hates him. His wife, however, welcomes him with open arms. And relationships that were slowly breaking apart, finally reach a point of no return.

THE VENERY OF LARKS. (2M). Two gay seminary students, Paul and Stephen, work out one morning while drilling each other for finals. They also dish, discuss a sick friend, size up men, and play a game. However, it is obvious that something is amiss for Stephen had disappeared with no warning for a few days to visit family and has just as suddenly returned demanding Paul meet him at the gym. By the end of the play, the word “finals” begins to take on a decidedly ironic meaning and Paul has to make some important decisions about his life and what it means to be in seminary.

THE WAY OF THE WORLD. (2M, 3 others which can be M or F). Two young men make life miserable for a series of elevator passengers until unexpected events take over.